Back in 2012, New York-based “computer programmer, composer and artist” (the order is his) Cory Arcangel started a Twitter feed called Working On My Novel. It Retweets people who use that phrase, and now Cory has published a book which brings together a selection of some of those Tweets (all with the permission of the authors it should be noted).
Of course there’s a neat irony that these expressions of struggle have made it into print while some of the novels may never do so, and Cory has established a nice narrative throughout the book; with excitement, determination, frustration, anger and the kind of bloody-minded-late-night-pulll-your-hair-out in despair that anyone who has ever tried anything creative will recognise.
When I first heard about this project I expected (and maybe anticipated!) a snidey rebuke of those people who are very good at talking about their latest creative endeavour but who never seem to produce anything, but I think Cory’s motives are much purer.
On the book’s microsite he writes: “Working On My Novel is about the act of creation and the gap between the different ways we express ourselves today… it’s the story of what it means to be a creative person, and why we keep on trying.”
Reading this sentiment not only made me feel like a bad person, it also gave me a renewed appreciation for this beguiling little book.